How Much Do You Pay a Minister for a Wedding?

Take into account the number of rehearsals too

By Elizabeth Park

Bride and groom before a minister
Photo by Jeremy Lawson PhotographyBookmark and Share

Paying for all the costs of a wedding can be an overwhelming task. Plan and budget for each step as you go along, being careful to leave something in your checking account for one cost: the officiant. So just how much do you pay a minister for a wedding?

What Payment Covers

The minister provides the liturgy of the service and the order of worship and conducts the ceremony. In addition, the minister conducts the rehearsal and will walk the bridal party through what they need to do if you do not have a wedding coordinator. And in some ceremonies, such as a church wedding, there may be assistants accompanying the officiant.

Minister's Responsibilities

The minister is responsible for signing and mailing the marriage license to the county registrar and for obtaining the witness signatures as required by the state.

What to Pay

The cost for an officiant averages around $250 or more depending on the number of prewedding meetings (including the rehearsal and ceremony) and the level of experience. You must pay for all your minister's travel, lodging and meal expenses for destination weddings. Many ministers require a deposit to secure the date. Some have set fees while others may give you a range.

How to Pay

Payment to the minister should be made by the groom through the best man, by check or cash enclosed in an envelope or thank you card.

When to Pay

Payment should be made at the rehearsal.

Paying for the Church

Payment for use of the church is often required. This is separate from the compensation for the minister, who has spent personal time preparing for the wedding.

About the Author

Betsy Park Haas has written for various newspapers and online sites.

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Wedding Glossary


A shelter of branches under which a couple stands to exchange vows. Can also be made of latticework covered with vines.

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